Iran understands American weakness and is bound to exploit it

As attention turns to Iran, events in Syria suggests that American global leadership and an Obama presidency are hopelessly incompatible

by Taylor Dibbert on 27 September 2013 10:25

The sixty-eighth session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) began at a tumultuous time in world affairs. While the topics discussed and debated are wide-ranging, Syria, Iran and US foreign policy in the Middle East were bound to be on most peoples’ minds.

Iranian foreign policy might have a different face these days, but that doesn’t mean its agenda has changed. Sincerity simply cannot be gauged by examining an op-ed in the Washington Post. Sanctions are choking Tehran, so it’s not surprising that the Iranians would be looking for the West to turn down the heat.

Obama’s already proven that he’s a president who cannot be trusted. He unwisely entered into a deal over Syria’s chemical weapons; it should come as no surprise that, already, things aren’t going well on that front.

Furthermore, he’s even suggested that negotiations over Syria’s chemical weapons are a lesson for Iran – namely, that a diplomatic breakthrough over Iran’s nuclear program is possible. Unfortunately, the Iranians (and many others) are probably drawing a very different conclusion.

A more realistic interpretation of recent events in Syria suggests that American global leadership and an Obama presidency are hopelessly incompatible.

Since US foreign policy continues to draw opprobrium from all corners of the globe, Obama has become ever more desperate for a diplomatic success story. When it comes to Iran, he’ll probably see what he wants to see and believe what he wants to believe. In other words, it’s business as usual.

Tehran must think that that now is an auspicious time to capitalize on American weakness.

Sadly, the regime may be right.

Taylor Dibbert is an international consultant based in Washington, DC. He is the author of numerous articles, reports and the book, "Fiesta of Sunset: The Peace Corps, Guatemala and a Search for Truth"

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